Sure there are blogs, podcasts and citizen journalists, and even public television and radio. But, the vast majority of citizens get their information from a dwindling number of outlets that aren’t under the control of six major corporations in this country. While the role of the media in our society is to investigate, inform and provide a crucial check on political power, are some of those obligations shaded in service to an increase in profits and the need to ‘entertain’ so as to attract more listeners, viewers and readers? Studies show that the time spent covering public policy issues is being diminished in the media while the horse race and ‘show’ part of the process is accentuated. One must ask whether a Donald Trump presidency ever would have been possible without an attendant desire for ratings, because he was good for business, and a simultaneous dumbing down of the our public discourse in the news media and lack of focus on civic education in our schools. Mickey Huff, our guest, along with Nolan Higdon explore all these issues in the book, ‘The United States of Distraction’. It’s a very important read and a compelling listen, as he lays out how we got here and, in the book and on the podcast, some ways we may reclaim an informed civic culture–before it’s too late.
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